Beauceron

Other Names: French Shorthaired Shepherd, Beauce Sheepdog, Bas Rouge

Country Of Origin: France

Dog Group: Herding

Size: Large

Lifespan: 10-14 years

Maintenance Level: Low

Temperament: Intelligent, loyal, wary

Recommended For: Families, couples, single owners

FAQ:

Good For First-Time Owner: No

Good With Children: Yes

Good With Other Animals: Yes

Good With Strangers: No

Good For Apartments: No

Exercise Requirements: Daily walking

Can Live In Hot Weather: Yes

Can Live In Cold Weather: Yes

Can Tolerate Being Left Alone: Yes

Grooming: Low

Trainability: Easy/moderate

Breed Overview:

The Beauceron is a herding breed originating from France.

They’re quite an old breed, and have long been used for herding sheep, and occasionally catching rabbits.

Although still popular as a working dog, they also make good family pets.

The breed’s naturally wary nature makes them good guard dogs, and they can be very protective of both their owners and property.

Overall, Beaucerons are generally easy to care for, but their personalities mean they’re not particularly suited as a first-time dog.

 Color: Black and tan, black and gray with tan markings

 Height: Males – 25.5-27.5 inches, Females – 24-26.5 inches

 Weight: 70-110lbs (both males and females)

 Personality and Temperament:

The Beauceron is an intelligent breed that forms loyal bonds with its owners, and is generally very hardy.

Their use as herding dogs means they can be very independent, and are often happy to go without human attention for longer than expected.

The breed is quite easy to train, but this should be started from a young age to ensure success.

Beaucerons can be trained to a high level, and can pick up a range of very complex commands.

Taking them to obedience classes is a great way to start this, and will also help with socializing them around other dogs.

The Bas Rouge is fine around other dogs, but can be temperamental around smaller pets, as their herding instinct is quite strong.

Their wary nature can often be misinterpreted as aggression, but providing they’re given the right training, Beaucerons aren’t an aggressive breed.

They can be fearless around other animals, and will often attempt to be the leader of a pack.

Due to their use as a herding dog, Beaucerons need plenty of exercise. They should have at least an hour of walking every day, but more is better.

This should also be combined with plenty of playtime at home for mental stimulation.

The breed’s intelligence means they like being given a task, and would always prefer to be busy doing something.

A lack of stimulation can result in depression or destructive behavior.

The Beauceron’s size and energy levels mean that they’re not suited to being kept in an apartment.

Their guarding nature can also be problematic in this kind of environment because they frequently bark at unrecognized noise.

The best home for a Beauceron is one with plenty of land for the dog to play on.

Beaucerons are a very hardy breed, and are one of the few that can live outside in almost all climates.

Their thick coat means they’re perfectly suited to colder weather, but it can also be cropped short to make them more comfortable in hotter climates.

Owners in hot areas should obviously be careful about the timing and intensity of exercise during the hottest times of the year.

The breed isn’t really suitable for first-time owners, simply because they need a strong-minded and confident owner who is willing to be firmer than usual.

Beaucerons need an owner who can deal with their independence and occasional stubbornness, which is not something many new owners can deal with.

Also, their higher exercise needs is often something that puts off first-time owners.

Generally, Beaucerons can be left alone for longer periods of time, and don’t suffer from separation anxiety like some other breeds.

This is mainly because they were bred for use in the fields, and would often be left alone to monitor a flock without their owner around.

However, even Beaucerons would be much happier if left in the company of another dog, particularly with working owners who might be out of the house a lot.

Beaucerons make good guard dogs because they’re wary of strangers and protective of their property.

In their original use, they were often kept in the fields to protect flocks against wolves, which is an indication of how good they are at guarding.

 Grooming:

Grooming a Beauceron is generally quite easy providing the owner stays on top of it. The breed has a wiry topcoat and a softer, wooly undercoat.

The undercoat comes through much thicker in winter, and will come in even thicker still if the dog lives outdoors.

A Beauceron’s coat should be brushed on a weekly basis using a soft-bristle brush or slicker mitt, which will help to pull out loose hairs from the undercoat.

The Beauceron does shed quite a bit, particularly in line with seasonal changes, although there is some level of year-round shedding.  Grooming is best done outside to minimize hair lying around the house.

The breed doesn’t need bathing often because they’re naturally clean dogs. Beaucerons should be bathed at maximum once a month, and any more can result in skin conditions and a dry coat.

Ideally, save bathing for when the dog is particularly smelly, or has gotten very dirty. Even mud is easy to remove with a brush once it’s dried.

In some parts of the world, breeders still crop Beauceron’s ears, although this practice has been banned in Europe.

If the dog has cropped ears, owners won’t need to check them as much, but if the dog’s ears are still their natural shape, it’s recommended to check and clean them once a week. This will help reduce the risk of infection.

Beaucerons have particularly fast growing nails, so be sure to clip them regularly.

If left too long it can lead to pain and problems when walking. As with all breeds, be sure to brush the dog’s teeth regularly to avoid dental issues.

 Common Diseases and Conditions:

Beaucerons are particularly prone to bloat, like many other large-chested breeds.

Bloat isn’t curable, but is completely manageable through diet. Common symptoms include loss of appetite, vomiting, and lethargy, and dogs should be taken to the vet to confirm.

However, once owners are educated, it can be easy to spot the condition and manage appropriately at home.

The breed, like other purebreds, has issues with elbow and hip dysplasia, although these conditions are common enough for responsible breeders to screen puppies not long after birth.

Beaucerons are also prone to skin allergies, heart problems, and eye problems, all of which are treatable but incurable.

Again, responsible breeders will test for these, but there is also chance of them not manifesting until later in the dog’s life.

 History:

The Beauceron is a long-established herding breed that originates from central France. It was actually one of the breeds used to create the Doberman Pinscher.

Similarly, the Beauceron shares a common ancestry with another French herding dog, the Briard.

This ancestry is seen in their double dewclaws, an occurrence almost unique to these two breeds.

The breed standard for the Beauceron was written in 1893, when it was separated from the longhaired Berger de la Brie (Briard).

This is still the breed standard used today, and is essentially unchanged across worldwide kennel clubs.

The breed has always been popular as a working dog, but less so as a companion pet.

Beaucerons also served in WW2, where they were used as messenger dogs to travel across enemy lines.

They’re also popular as police support dogs, mainly due to their size and intimidating nature.

However, in recent years the breed has also become popular as a show dog. Beaucerons were first shown at the Westminster Dog Show only in 2008, although they do also appear in agility and obedience trials.

Beaucerons were only recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1998, when they were added to the Foundation Stock Service.

This is reserved for breeds that don’t have enough breeding stock in America, which shows its anonymity outside of France, and Europe more generally.

However, it maintains a popular following in France, where it is still mainly used as a working dog, but also enjoys status as a companion pet in more rural areas.

Beauceron Facts & Figures:

Did You Know?

  • The Beauceron has never been crossbred with foreign dogs that don’t originate in France, making it a prime example of a purebred breed.
  • Beaucerons have actually been surprisingly popular in film, starring in such hits as James Bond’s Moonraker, Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York, Marmaduke, Nikita, and The Wild Child.
  • French author Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (popularly known as just Colette) was a big fan of the breed, often writing about her own Beauceron.
  • Beaucerons are known to mature very slowly, and usually won’t reach adulthood (both mentally and physically) until around 3 years of age.
  • One of the most famous depictions of the Beauceron is found in the British War Museum. The picture dates from WW2 and shows a Beauceron leaping over a trench. The actual dog was French, but was used by the Germans for transporting messages across enemy lines.

Avatar About The Author: Jacob Powell is studying Ph.D. in English Literature. He has ten years of experience in writing with specific expertise in proofreading, editing, and creative writing. He loves all animals, but dogs are his favorite. His current dog is a 5-year-old pug called Merlin.